The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Editorial:
Wall Street’s bubble has burst

Jul 22, 2002

No reason for us to pay for it

Almost seven trillion dollars have gone down the drain since the price of stocks began to go down back in March 2000 – so say Wall Street analysts. Trillion – not million, not billion, but trillion! Seven trillion!

Those seven trillion weren’t real.

If seven trillion could be lost like that, it’s because prices on these markets were driven up, year after year, simply by speculation. The financiers pushed a big buying binge, trying to convince everyone that there was gold to be made out of nothing – all that was necessary was to buy and sell, and then buy and sell again. For some years, no one seemed to notice that there was nothing real behind all this financial activity. It was no more substantial than a giant soap bubble.

Without new money pumping in, financial bubbles burst. And the money began to run out in March 2000, over two years ago. That’s why, for example, there was such a push two years ago to privatize Social Security. Wall Street, having devoured most other large sources of money, was looking around for a new calf to slaughter. Even today, there are still scoundrels who dare say that Social Security’s trust fund – which has never run out, never gone bankrupt, never collapsed, never crashed – needs to be “saved” by being handed over to Wall Street! No, Wall Street was trying to save itself, at the expense of the retirement money of every person in this country – just like Enron and WorldCom sought to save their executives’ hides by playing fast and loose with their employees’ retirement money.

In any case, Wall Street’s bubble seems to have burst. And not just because of Enron and WorldCom. Not even because recent revelations – about Bush’s dealings with Harken, and Cheney’s dealings with Halliburton – show that the very top of the political establishment is as corrupt as they come. The bubble burst because it was stretched too big, filled with too much air.

The question now is what happens to the working class.

What is the main goal of every capitalist company? It’s certainly not to provide goods and services for the population. Nor is it to create jobs. Their primary aim, their reason for sticking around is to enrich their stockholders – particularly the big stockholders – the ones who own millions of shares. This is who really counts in the capitalist scheme of things.

So – a financial bubble seems to be bursting. What does that change in the real world? If the working class were in control of the economy, it would mean nothing, absolutely nothing. The people who needed to eat yesterday still need to eat today. The ones who needed a car or a house or clothes or books for their children or even maybe a new refrigerator still need those things. And the people who produce them still need to work. That’s enough to make an economy run.

If it’s messed up today, it’s because the capitalists try to use it for the purpose of turning a profit, no matter what they have to do to get that profit.

All those thieves and scoundrels who played so fast and loose with the whole economy, diverting money away from production into the rarefied air of speculation – they would never think of paying for the problems they created. They will be looking for ways to make us pay.

NO! It’s their mess, let them pay for it! If money is needed, let them cough it up. Take six or eight of their fancy homes away from them. Put them to work. And if they won’t work like everyone else, chuck them aside.